Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.
1. Under-30s ‘Glastonbury style’ rush for Covid jabs
More than a million coronavirus vaccine bookings were made on the NHS website yesterday for the first time – on the day all 25 to 29-year-olds were eligible to access it. NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens labelled it a “Glastonbury style” rush – a reference to the traditional race to book tickets for the music festival. Meanwhile, another 7,540 people tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday – the highest daily number of cases since the end of February.
2. More than 1,000 people in hospital with Covid
For the first time since the middle of May, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK has risen above 1,000. It comes as scientists warn of the risks of a third wave, as cases of the Delta variant (first identified in India) rise. Prof Neil Ferguson, whose modelling was key to the first lockdown in March last year, told a media briefing that delaying the planned lifting of the last remaining restrictions on 21 June would allow more people to be vaccinated. He added that it was not clear how cases will translate into hospitalisations and it would take a few more weeks to find out.
3. ‘Police feel betrayed over jabs’
Police officers feel a “deep sense of betrayal” that they were not prioritised for Covid-19 vaccinations, the Police Federation chairman has said. John Apter said he pressed the home secretary to ensure officers were moved up the vaccine priority list. The order of the rollout was based on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and began with those most at risk of death and serious illness from Covid-19. Ministers lobbied the JCVI but Priti Patel said the government had to accept its decision not to make police an exception.
4. Record crackdown on fake online pharmacies
A record number of fake online pharmacies were shut down in May as criminals sought to take advantage of the pandemic. Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, led a global crackdown which saw more than 100,000 online marketplaces offering illicit drugs taken down. Between 18 and 25 May, there were 277 arrests involving 92 countries and in the UK, fake medicines worth more than $13m (£9.17m) were seized as part of the efforts. Most of the illegal medical devices seized were fake or unauthorised Covid testing kits.
5. Scotland’s learner drivers face 16-week wait for theory tests
Passing a driving test is a rite of passage for many people the world over, but learner drivers in Scotland are facing a 16-week wait to sit a theory test due to 2m social distancing requirements in testing centres. Scotland’s learner drivers are waiting almost four times longer their their English and Welsh counterparts. South of the border only 1m physical distancing is required. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will look at the situation to see how quickly capacity can be increased.
And there’s more…
The government should be announcing its decision about England’s reopening date in less than a week. While we wait for that, here are four key numbers to watch out for in the coming days.
Find further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
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